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(R) 8 out of 142
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Rating Guide
None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme



Raiders Of The Lost Art (Page 144)

Drams 0
Venue Komedia Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 21)
Address 2 Johnston Terrace
Reviewer Veera Airas

To be able to act or paint is a talent alone, but to do both at the same time is extraordinary. Gary Taylor makes both look like child's play. He takes to the stage with such comfort it's like being in his own living room. If you have ever wondered what the life of an artist is like, well this is the opportunity you have been looking for. A look into the life of Turner himself and the artists who have since won the Turner Prize for Modern Art.

Originally a two man show, this piece was adapted within two days to become a one mans show, by its creator Gary Taylor. The talent of this performer and performance should not go unnoticed. He will make you laugh so much that it hurts. What an unstoppable talent!
Runs till 25th August at 10.50pm, excluding 19th.
© Veera Airas 8 August 2002
   

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (page 145)
Drams full glasshalf glass
Venue Smirnoff Underbelly (Venue 61)
Address Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge. Entrances on Cowgate & Victoria Street
Reviewer Annabel Ingram

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is a warning from Brecht about permissiveness allowing tyranny to succeed. Brecht wrote this play in 1941 shortly before arriving in America as a parable charting the rise of Hitler, here represented by Arturo Ui, a Chicago gangster determined to provide 'protection' for the greengrocers of his town.

Performed in one of the Underbelly's deep dark spaces, the sleeze, violence and corruption of local politics and crime pervade this play which is here performed by with style, vigour, and character. Excellent performances are on offer here, particularly those of Arturo Ui, Roma and the character actor who gives us a young earnest son, Marlowe the out-of-work English actor who gives Ui lessons in conducting himself in public for the proper statesman like appearance and an upstanding Chicago greengrocer.

The projections describing the setting of each scene are unnecessary and rather distracting and I was a little puzzled by the peculiar approach to staging in a couple of scenes where upstaging and turning your back on the audience seemed to be the order of the day, but on the whole I remain impressed by this young cast's talent and energy. However, at almost two hours this reviewer found it a little long to tolerate in one sitting.
Runs 14,16,18,20,22,24 @ 20.10-21.55
© Annabel Ingram 12 August 2002
Company- Blue Roses Theatre Company
   

Rocket and Roxie's Untimely, Tragic and Fiery Death Stunt Show (page 145)
Drams full glass
Venue Underbelly
Address George IV Bridge, entrances on Cowgate and Victoria Street
Reviewer Daniel Winterstein

Fire is cool. The Daredevil Opera Company understand that, and had the further insight that flaming unicycles in a small space would be even cooler. Using this and other flashes of pyrotechnical brilliance they have produced an exciting white-knuckle circus show. Never mind that the material is overstretched and the clowning is sometimes overdone. Never mind that the puerile and crude humour is only occasionally funny. Rocket Johnny - a 1950s style superhero - does not actually pogo to the moon as he promises. So they aren't perfect; we forgive them.

They blow things up! They juggle chainsaws! They walk tightropes! They splash paraffin everywhere and set fire to themselves! One trick relies on careful timing to avoid blowing up the front row (but when my friend tried to light up a cigarette the Underbelly staff told him off for being a fire hazard. God knows how they spotted him through all the smoke). They dice with danger! On roller-skates! And toast marshmallows!

The title almost says it all. Except: Go see this show before Jonah Logan, Amy Gordon and Tom Comet really do meet an untimely, tragic and fiery death, leaving the world a safer but more boring place.

Runs until 11th August. 11:45pm. 8 (7).
© Daniel Winterstein, 6th August 2002
   

Rocket Take Away (page 145)
Drams full glassfull glassfull glass
Venue Rocket @ Apex Hotels
Address 31-35 Grassmarket
Reviewer Shona Brodie

This is a brilliant idea. Strangers from across the Fringe working together to create five-minute plays in less than three days. A topic and two key words are posted up, giving writers 24 hours before their scripts are due. Actors and directors then receive the ten best scripts twelve hours before they perform and at the end of the night the audience gets to judge the winner.

This concept captures the spirit of the Fringe, but unfortunately in its first year, the show is let down by its own enthusiasm. Members of Rocket shows, staff and friends have wholly supported the venture, but in some ways taken it over. In-jokes and references are completely lost to those members of the audience that are not directly involved and some actors did not make an extra effort to perform while in the company of friends. There were of course exceptions, some individuals stood out, while the one dramatic monologue was a well received break. The winning piece, a cleverly written "HMS Holocaust" was ideal for a 5-minute comedy sketch and proves that this is a showcase for new talent.

A wonderful way for writers to try out new ideas and see their words on stage, it just needs a bit more development and support from a wider variety of contributors for it to become a welcomed Fringe feature.
If you are interested in writing, performing or directing part of the next Take Away performance, please drop into Rocket Venues (or e-mail rockettakeaway@yahoo.com) for more details.)
August 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22 at 23.00
© Shona Brodie 8 August 2002
   

A Room Of State (page 146)

Drams none needed at all
Venue Underbelly (Venue 61)
Address Cowgate and Victoria St entrances
Reviewer Thelma Good

In the Big Belly the largest space in the this venue there's a very fine adaptation of Hamlet seen through the Players's eyes. Don't know or maybe like Hamlet, Shakespeare or know who the Players are? Trust me, you will if you see this. The Players, Humourous Man, The Lady, The Lover, The Knight/Fool and The King, from Shakespeare original play are here to show you and that's not all this extremely fine production does. Prodigal Theatre know how make a story clear and vivid, drawing the audience into the world of the play and that special land of theatre which only exists in well concieved work. They are definitately a company to watch and unusually as urged in the press blurb they really do give us a "Hamlet you have never seen before". Surely if Shakespeare was writing now he'd've re-edited his script as O'loughin and Henderson have and performed it similarly too.

Played to the audience on three sides these actors deliver their lines to you, looking directly at you so that you become the courtiers at Elsinor or at one point Horatio. The Humourous Man, Alister O'loughlin, makes a electrifying Hamlet, each soliloquy was as if I was hearing it for the first time. The Lover's, Grace Wainwright, Ophelia is a young woman sent out into despair by her ardent lover's rejection, I watched with pricking eyes as he pushed her away with words and actions. And you believe in their love for one another, not many productions achieve that. Miranda Henderson's The Lady is the most convincng Gertrude I have seen, her anguish as the tragedy gathers force tangible. Dan Fordini as the Knight and The Fool who becomes Polonious and later Laetres has lovely touches of humour. The King, Damian Tanham, has the chill of Claudius - a ruthless, unreadable man.

Containing also inventive multiple use of miminal props and a keen eye to visual symbolisms, A Room of State is one of the magical things on the fringe a production that will live in the memory long after The Players have left town to wander the earth playing "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." Revitialising those well known lines, it's a outstanding fusion of classical and modern approaches, intimate and strong. Go and see the Prodigal Theatre, they'll travel far.
© Thelma Good 04 August 2002
Runs 2 - 25 August not Tues at 18:15pm
Email: Prodigal Theatre

   

Rose in a Garden of Weeds (page 146)
Drams full glass full glass at least
Venue Gateway (Venue 3)
Address Elm Row
Reviewer Neil Ingram

Susannah Bond and Company exist to bring comedy to discerning audiences. In Rose in a Garden of Weeds they have brought to Edinburgh a basically serious play, poignant rather than funny, and though the three actors all do their best it never really works. Rose spends much of her time looking after her invalid father, George, and supporting her best friend May. The play's subjects- caring for an elderly relative, loneliness, death and coping with the real world- are all potential comedy material, but the writing here isn't incisive enough.

The three actors, Susannah Bond, Marilyn Jakes and Bryn Ellis, are all convincing enough, and feed well off one another. The direction though at times is undecided as to whether this is a naturalistic piece or a surreal view of family life. Disappointing, because I felt that with their obvious energy the cast could have been put to better use.
Runs until 13 August at 15.00
Suusannah Bond and Company
© Neil Ingram 10August 2002


   

Rumi's Astonishing Myth (page 146)
Drams full glass if performed poetry is your thing more if not
Venue Diverse Attractions (Venue 11 )
Address Riddles Court Lawnmarket
Reviewer Thelma Good

In a 17th century home in the Old town Bahai follower Hadie MacLeod from the Antipodes performs the poems of Jalaludin Rumi, a Sufi poet of 1207 - 1270.
She does give them some dramatic content and adds a bit about Rumi's life, faith and Edinburgh which has building as ancient as these writings. And her own clear love of his writings and the sense of man behind them she conveys. But what Rumi's astonishing myth is, I am still in the dark about.

Certainly it's an encouraging introduction to ancient faiths and how to make poetry more dramatic, she learnt the poems and uses the stage. Hadie MacLeod has taken some thought with costume and props. She also creates a mid-eastern air to the staunchly Scottish room with its period painted ceiling by strategically placed brightly coloured scarves. And the seating is this year far more comfortable in Room 2 than in pervious visits I have had there.
© Thelma Good 19 August 2002 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 24 August
A book of Rumi's poems, Like This, translated in English by John moyne and Coleman Barks is available from Maypop Books
   

Ryman And The Sheikh (page 146)
Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glassfull glass
Venue Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)
Address 1 Bristo Square
Reviewer Thelma Good

It could be very funny this idea, a TV presenter and his big headed guest presenter, both as kack as each other. Both Chris Ryman, as Ryman the presenter on a new Asian Cable TV company and Rehan Sheikh, as the Sheikh, movie star in Pakistan and Britain, show they can work an audience when they break off into an adlibbed questions to the audience. Otherwise the script is dull and static despite the Ryman's frantic attempts to inject some energy into the show.

The problems don't stop there, the TV set with its lit screens and curved dias is set in Pleasance 2 too far back, so they have to act across a gulf they only begin to bridge when step down in front of it. The pitfall people often forget if you set the show in a second rate setting, is that only when the show is really tight and taunt do the performers look good. Waiting to snare these shows is the huge maw of "they're as crap as the characters they act". Sorry guys you fell in that trap here. Putting Ryman And The Sheikh in theatre section and not the comedy section must be a mistake. Laid back, often liquid fuelled comedy audiences are more up for actively heckling or joining in, theatre audiences don't expect to speak themselves in a play but listen. At a later time in London, where more people know of them, it may go down better.
© Thelma Good 18 August 2002 - published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs till 5- 26 August at 17:10 then at Soho Theatre London 2 -14 September at 21:30
Company - Tamasha Theatre Company

(R) 8 out of 142
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